Created By: pcw2727 on October 4, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on February 20, 2015

One Last Stand Deserves Another.

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Main
Page Type:
Trope
The enemy is closing in. There's no where to run, and the gates are barred. Everyone readies their weapons for a desperate final stand against the encroaching enemies. And they all get slaughtered.

Then along comes your main cast. They arrive at the site of a last stand and its clear what happened there. Sometimes bodies are strewn everywhere. Other times the space is mysteriously empty. They may find the remains of failed barricades and the walls are sure to bear a few battle scars. In some cases they even find a gruesome detailed record of exactly what happened before they arrive. In low tech settings this might be an Apocalyptic Log in the form of a journal or logbook, in more high tech settings there can be a full video record of the previous battle.

Whatever the state of the site of this last stand, our heroes had better put things together quick because they're about to make another one. Yes, the enemy is once again closing in on this exact spot. Time to rebuild those barricades, gather weapons and hope things go better this time around.


Examples

Film
  • In ''Aliens Ripley and the marines discover the remains of the colonists last hold out. When they get stranded they end up having to hold out there themselves.
  • Starship Troopers. When the Roughnecks arrive at Whiskey Outpost on Planet P they find the Mobile Infantry (MI) who were guarding it gruesomely slaughtered. A short time later an army of Bugs attacks them and they must defend the outpost, hoping that they don't share the fate of the earlier MI.

Literature
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Balin's tomb, also known as the hall of Mazarbul was the site of Balin and his expedition's last stand. When the Fellowship arrives to investigate they find the remains of this battle and end up making a stand of their own in the same site. It works out better for them then it did for Balin.

Video Games
  • On several occasions in Call of Duty 2 the player clears a stronghold full of Germans, only to have to defend the very same fortifications he just defeated against the ensuing counter attack.

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • October 5, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Starship Troopers. When the Roughnecks arrive at Whiskey Outpost on Planet P they find the Mobile Infantry (MI) who were guarding it gruesomely slaughtered. A short time later an army of Bugs attacks them and they must defend the outpost, hoping that they don't share the fate of the earlier MI.
  • October 5, 2011
    KingZeal
    • Pitch Black. The survivors of the crashed transport ship find the location where the previous holdouts tried to bunker down and wait out the darkness (and the creatures that come with it). That becomes their first sign that something is really, really wrong.
  • October 5, 2011
    pcw2727
    I never saw Pitch Black, do these same survivors try to hold out in that bunker? The point of the trope is you hold a last stand in a place where another group had a last stand and got slaughtered.
  • October 7, 2011
    azmod
    The upcoming Aliens:Colonial Marines game revisits the colony from Aliens. A company of marines is sent to investigate what happened to Ripley's group and gets trapped in the same areas as the first group of soldiers. Most of the colony is destroyed due to the power plant explosion at the end of Aliens.
  • October 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Not sure about "do over", as that implies the first last stand getting a "rematch".
  • October 7, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • In the Terra Nova premier, some kids go off on their own and "sixers" steal their car battery. Before the sixers can get away, however, they're ambushed by "slashers". Cue the kids discovering the missing battery and an abandoned sixer vehicle in the distance, getting chased by a slasher to the sixer vehicle, and forced to make a last stand there. they are rescued as they attempt to put the battery back in their own vehicle and escape.
  • October 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @DQZ: Thank you. Needs A Better Title -- this isn't about the "first" Last Stand getting a second chance, it's about a second party coming upon the site of the first one and winding up in a similar situation themselves.
  • October 7, 2011
    Hadashi
  • October 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Please explain.
  • October 7, 2011
    Bisected8
    A record of what happened would fall under Apocalyptic Log, BTW.
  • October 8, 2011
    KingZeal
    ^^ I don't think Scott Pilgrim counts. I think Hadashi was taking the original name literally. Basically, Scott has a last stand against the story's Big Bad and gets killed, but uses a 1-Up he got earlier to reboot time and get a do-over of the whole third act.
  • October 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Okay, Not An Example. But the current working title is definitely better. Not necessarily great, but interesting.
  • October 11, 2011
    pcw2727
    I don't think the Terra Nova example counts either as the Sixers never made a last stand. They got ambushed and slaughtered.
  • October 11, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Interesting point. This could easily be broadened into "heroes wander into the site of a great massacre, and end up fighting whomever was responsible for said massacre".

    Take the Climax Boss in Cave Story, The Core. The room's littered with dozens of old hulls of broken war robots, one of which is barely functional enough to tell you of "extreme danger" and "retreat!" before the entrance door slams shut and it's Boss Battle time.

    Or in Super Metroid when you're going about Tourian and suddenly you run into rooms where the enemies are dry husks that crumble to sawdust at a moment's touch. A few rooms later you run into precisely what did it.
  • October 11, 2011
    pcw2727
    That kind of removes it pretty far from the original idea. In that situation basically any time someone finds a dead body and ends up fighting whoever killed it would count. I'd only want to expand that if there's too few examples of the current idea.
  • December 17, 2011
    MidnightRambler
    Real Life example: In 1916, the French made one of the most epic Last Stands in history at Verdun, holding out long enough for reinforcements to arrive, and eventually beating back the German offensive. In 1792, the army of the First Republic had made a Last Stand at Verdun as well... only for Prussian forces to smash through it.
  • December 17, 2011
    captainpat
    The whole description needs to be rewritten, it reads like an Example As A Thesis.
  • December 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • December 17, 2011
    MidnightRambler
    How is this not an example? Verdun has historically been a strategically important location for anyone seeking to invade France; hence, the French have made a lot of Last Stands there, with varying degrees of success. 1792 is a (more or less) well-known example where they got massacred; 1916 is a well-known example where they held out. I don't see how it does not fit the description 'Last Stand is made at Place X, they get massacred, later another Last Stand is made at Place X.'
  • December 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
    That's not the definition of a Last Stand.
  • December 18, 2011
    pcw2727
    He's correct, Your example is a case of one location being used for a siege multiple times. This trope is for when a group is besieged at a site where another group recently had a last stand and got defeated.
  • December 18, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Besides, Verdun's strategic importance is about it being located at a Defensive Chokepoint, making it a first stand against eastern invaders, not a last one.

    Remember, Last Stand is: The battle is lost, but you'll keep fighting until every last man is killed because it's the only thing left you can do. (We may have some Definition Drift on Last Stand, but that's for another time.)
  • December 19, 2011
    MidnightRambler
    ^ Does this mean a Last Stand always ends in getting slaughtered to the last man?
  • December 19, 2011
    Stratadrake
    In straight form, yes. But since getting slaughtered is a bit of a Downer Ending, it's also commonly subverted by them getting rescued somehow.
  • December 19, 2011
    MidnightRambler
    Then Verdun 1916 counts, I think. You see, the Germans shelled the French trenches for a long time; only a small group of defenders survived. These survivors fought the Germans ferociously - they were hopelessly outnumbered, they knew damn well that they were going to be massacred, but they had to buy time for the rest of the French army to pull itself together and defend the city (a bit like the Spartans at Thermopylai).
  • December 19, 2011
    pcw2727
    I could maybe buy that as a last stand, but given the two battles are over a hundred years apart I don't think it fits the idea of the trope.

  • December 20, 2011
    MidnightRambler
    Fair 'nuff :P
  • December 20, 2011
    Medinoc
    Pitch Black is actually an aversion or a Defied Trope, since they decide not to make a stand there, and try to reach the ship instead.
  • February 20, 2015
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Changed media section titles to All Caps.
      • Corrected spelling (makeing, here -> there).
      • Namespaced, italicized and Blue Linked work names.
      • Changed unnecessary double curly braces to Camel Case.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
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